Afrimarket raises $11M for regional expansion

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Moroccan entrepreneur Rania Belkahia has raised 10 million euros (US$11 million) for ecommerce platform Afrimarket, which targets the French-speaking countries of West Africa.

The Series B round brings Afrimarket’s total investment to 13 million euros (US $14.4 million), according to French business newspaper Les Echos.

The round included British investment fund Global Innovation Fund, which funds social innovation in the developing world, and Proparco, a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France’s official development assistance to developing countries and devoted to private sector funding.

Several individuals also joined the round including Olivier Mathiot, cofounder of France’s sixth largest ecommerce site Priceminister.

Previous investors included telecom operator Orange, founder of Free and France’s super-entrepreneur Xavier Niel, and founder of Vente-privée Jacques-Antoine Granjon.

“It was on purpose: we now have a diversified group of shareholders, with international players, industrials, seasoned entrepreneurs, in ecommerce or telecom,” said Belkahia, according to Les Echos.

Launched in 2013, Afrimarket is a French success stories.

Afrimarket was created by Belkahia and two classmates from France’s prestigious business school HEC. It allows individuals in the diaspora to pay for products and services for their family at home, providing a modernized and secured alternative to remittance.

The service is available in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin and Togo. In Ivory Coast, the service now offers a pure ecommerce service, similar to that of Amazon.

Today, the site is considered a potential competitor to Jumia, Rocket Internet’s version of Amazon in Africa.

Rania Belkahia for a TV show on French channel Public Sénat. (Image via Public Sénat)

Afrimarket will use the money to expand its pure ecommerce service in all the countries they’re operational in, and launch the diaspora service in new countries as early as 2017, starting with Mali and Burkina Faso.

Last year, Belkahia told Wamda that Maghreb was a potential market for them but this has been paused for now.

This money influx will be used to improve their delivery time and hire. According to Les Echos, the startups has 75 employees and a 15 to 25 percent monthly growth rate, driven by Ivory Coast’s ecommerce activity, which already represents 30 percent of income.

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